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EIU Media Relations

EIU’s board celebrates “The Gail & Richard Lumpkin School of Nursing”


Richard “Dick” Lumpkin, his children Bess and Ben, and The Lumpkin Family Foundation’s support will prove “transformational” for EIU, regional health care

(Charleston, IL) – The Lumpkin Family has left yet another indelible mark on the East Central Illinois community.

During the regular meeting of the Eastern Illinois University Board of Trustees June 26, it was revealed that EIU’s new School of Nursing would be named “The Gail & Richard Lumpkin School of Nursing.” The name is intended to revere the late Richard “Dick” Lumpkin and his wife Gail, as well as to honor the Lumpkin family’s enduring legacy of philanthropy and significant community involvement in their mission to “support organizations who are working towards healthy, sustainable communities.”

“It is among my greatest honors as president of Eastern Illinois University to announce the naming of The Gail & Richard Lumpkin School of Nursing,” said EIU President Dr. David Glassman. “Dick’s tremendous vision and support along with his children, Bess and Ben, and The Lumpkin Family Foundation for EIU and our new School of Nursing will have an extensive and transformational impact on the university, our students, and the entire region we exist to serve.”

EIU, which is already accredited by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing’s (AACN) Commission for Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), currently offers a flexible, online registered nurse (RN) to bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) program for working nurses. A decision by EIU’s board last September to seek approval on a four-year bachelor of science program in Nursing is pending final approval.

The children of Gail and Richard Lumpkin, Bess Celio and Ben Lumpkin, are excited to have their parents name associated with a School that will train and graduate future generations of highly qualified nurses to serve the region’s, hospitals, medical clinics, nursing and assisted living communities, physician offices, and at-home medical care programs. A shared statement from the siblings said “Our father and The Lumpkin Family Foundation have long been committed to supporting organizations that share our values of building healthy, sustainable, and vibrant communities. Our father supported the work of the Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Center all his life, and he was thrilled to have this opportunity to support plans for the growth and expansion of Eastern Illinois University’s School of Nursing. He believed, as we all do, that these two institutions are in a unique position to enhance the health and well-being of East Central Illinois residents for a long time to come.”

EIU’s Vice President and Provost for Academic Affairs Dr. Jay Gatrell and Dean of the College of Health and Human Services Dr. Özlem Ersin both feel that the phenomenal support from Mr. Lumpkin and The Lumpkin Family Foundation will be a regional investment that will see positive returns for decades to come.

“In terms of what this support means for EIU’s students and community, it’s beyond astounding,” Gatrell said. “The impact will be far and wide with regard to meeting increased national and state demands for qualified nurses, and our ability to support the region’s health infrastructure will be a benefit to every citizen in our region.”

“The Lumpkin Family Foundation’s support has been undoubtedly helping EIU to change lives for many years,” Ersin added. “This new commitment, spearheaded by Dick Lumpkin to help create EIU’s School of Nursing, will give us important leverage in offering programs and services with the health and wellbeing of Illinois residents at the forefront of such endeavors.”

According to the Foundation’s website, The Lumpkin family is made up of descendants and spouses of the original donor, Besse A. Lumpkin. Although the family’s start can be traced to Mattoon, Illinois, members now live in many communities across the U.S. and England. There are more than 30 family members over the age of 16 who take part in the Foundation’s philanthropy and community initiatives wherever its members reside.

For more general information about EIU, or to learn more about its growing assortment of programs and services, visit the university’s website at, or call EIU’s public information office at (217) 581-7400.




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Media Relations
Josh Reinhart, Public Information Coordinator

2142 Old Main
Eastern Illinois University
600 Lincoln Ave.
Charleston, IL 61920
Fax: 217-581-8444

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